Rosario, Argentina: a city of urban farmers

In 2002, Argentina suffered a severe economic crisis, resulting in many of the poor becoming unable to feed themselves. In Rosario, however, a large scale community farming effort alleviated these problems, and led to a rise of urban farming as a way of life which continues today.

In response to public outcry the Rosario municipality, using research conducted by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), set out to solve the problem. Through targeted educating the population in farming practices and freeing up large amounts of land. This program, called Programa de Agricultura Urbana was launched in 2002 and gave rise to over 800 separate growing groups throughout the city.

As the crisis passed, some gardens were abandoned, but the majority continued to produce food as before. As the focus moved away from gardening for survival, people found other reasons to garden. Among these reasons were extra income generation, leisure and community spirit, and access to high quality food free from agro-toxins.

Although the PAU was designed as a crisis response, it is now a integral part of the city of Rosario’s local culture, and continues to provide its inhabitants with a sense of place, community pride and a considerable degree of food resilience.

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